TREE OF HOPE by Amy Littlesugar


Age Range: 4 - 8
Email this review


Through Florrie’s eyes readers experience the despair and hopelessness of talented actors who were forced to leave the stage to find other work when the Lafayette Theatre closed its doors; the golden days of the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s have disappeared into the Great Depression of the 1930s, and Florrie’s father, once an actor, toils at the Allnight Bakery. Florrie’s greatest dream is for her father to be able to leave his job and return to the stage, and so she makes a wish on a tree that grows next to the Lafayette Theatre; it has become a symbol of endurance for black actors, a tree of hope. A director, Mr. Welles, arrives when President Roosevelt orders that the doors of the theatre be opened; there is to be a staging of Macbeth, and Florrie’s father gets a part. An author’s note attests to the veracity of events in the story, when Orson Welles directed African-Americans in roles from which they were once excluded. Cooper’s lavish oil-wash, full-page paintings pay mute tribute to the loss of luster and its regeneration in Harlem, in scenes in which the footlights cast a glow, and in which the faces tell a story that hardly needs words. (bibliography) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-399-23300-8
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Philomel
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 1999